Campus rape survivor: Carrying gun would have prevented attack

Pro-campus carry legislators promise to bring issue back

By Jake Stofan - Tallahassee corespondent
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Pro-campus carry legislators have promised to bring back the issue next session. Florida is one of 20 states that ban any form of campus carry.

Some students say they would feel unsafe if guns were allowed on university campuses, but a survivor of sexual assault said her attack changed her mind on the issue.

Shayna Lopez-Rivas began advocating in favor of campus carry after she was sexually assaulted on Florida State University's campus in 2014.

"He had a knife. I had pepper spray. And even though I ran for blue lights that are scattered all around, [he was] faster, stronger, and I did not win," Lopez-Rivas said.

Lopez-Rivas said if she had a gun with her, she may have been able to stop her attacker.

"The way that I carry it now, I would have been able to prevent what happened to me, yeah," Lopez-Rivas said.

The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus said the reality is crime rates on college campuses are generally lower than rates in surrounding areas.

The organization sent a statement, which reads, "Campus safety is a serious issue that should not be left to individual gun owners who lack the type and frequency of training required by law enforcement."

Students for Concealed Carry argues banning guns on campus is a violation of their Second Amendment right to bear arms. The organization said for students to carry concealed weapons on campus, they would still have to be licensed and have proper training.

Other students say they would actually feel less safe with guns around.

"I know personally that I wouldn't carry one, so I wouldn't feel safer if everyone else has it and I don't," Laura Prieto said.

In recent years, there have been many attempts by the Legislature to implement an open-carry policy, but they have all failed.

A 2013 court order required Florida universities to allow students to keep firearms in their vehicles parked on campus. The weapons must be in a locked compartment.

Twenty states give universities the option of adopting campus carry policies, while only 10 states have adopted the mandatory campus carry laws.

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